The World Factbook (1982)/Maldives

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The World Factbook (1982)
by the Central Intelligence Agency


(See reference map VIII)


298 km2; 2,000 islands grouped into 12 atolls; about 220 islands inhabited


Limits of territorial waters (claimed): the land and sea between latitudes 7°9′N and 0°45′S and between longitudes 72°30′E and 73°48′E; these coordinates form a rectangle of approximately 37,000 nm2; territorial sea ranges from 2.75 to 55 nm; fishing, approximately 100 nm; economic, approximately 200 nm

Coastline: 644 km (approx.)


Population: 163,000 (July 1982), average annual growth rate 3.0%

Nationality: noun—Maldivian(s); adjective—Maldivian

Ethnic divisions: admixtures of Sinhalese, Dravidian, Arab, and Negro

Religion: Sunni Islam

Language: Divehi (dialect of Sinhala)

Literacy: largely illiterate

Labor force: fishing industry employs 80% of the labor force


Official name: Republic of Maldives

Type: republic

Capital: Male

Political subdivisions: 19 administrative districts corresponding to atolls

Legal system: based on Islamic law with admixtures of English common law primarily in commercial matters; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

National holiday: 26 July, Independence Day

Branches: popularly elected unicameral national legislature (Majlis) (members elected for five-year terms); elected President, chief executive; appointed Chief Justice responsible for administration of Islamic law

Government leader: President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM

Suffrage: universal over age 21

Political parties and leaders: no organized political parties; country governed by the Didi clan for the past eight centuries

Communists: negligible number

Member of: Colombo Plan, FAO, G-77, GATT (de facto), IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IFAD, IMCO, IMF, ITU, NAM, UN, UPU, WHO, WMO


GNP: $23 million (1978), $160 per capita

Agriculture: crops—coconut and millet; shortages—rice, sugar, flour

Fishing: catch 27,700 metric tons (1979)

Major industries: fishing; some coconut processing; tourism

Electric power: 4,500 k W capacity (1981); 9 million kWh produced (1981), 57 k Wh per capita

Exports: $10.7 million (1980 prov.); fish

Imports: $26.9 million (1980 prov.); rice, sugar

Major trade partners: Japan, Sri Lanka, Singapore

Budget: (1980 est.) revenue $5.6 million; expenditure $7.1 million

Monetary conversion rate: 3.93 Maldivian rupees=US$1, official rate; 7.55 rupees=US$1, market rate (average 1980)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: none

Highways: none

Ports: 2 minor (Male, Gan)

Civil air: 1 major transport aircraft, leased in

Airfields: 2 total, 2 usable; 2 with permanent-surface runways; 1 with runways 2,440-3,659 m, 1 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: minimal domestic and international telecommunication facilities; 550 telephones (0.4 per 100 popl.); 2 AM stations, 1 TV station; 1 Indian Ocean INTELSAT station